Home > Great Big Greenhouse Blog > June 2017 > BONNIE'S GARDEN--Summer's Here

BONNIE'S GARDEN--Summer's Here

Wednesday is the Summer Solstice—the longest day of the year and the first day of summer.  The sun will rise at 5:49 a.m. and set at 8:34 p.m.  From then on, every day will be just a little shorter than the one before.  In Melbourne Australia, they’re celebrating the first day of winter.  The sun won’t rise there until 7:36 a.m. and will set at 5:08 p.m.  In case you’re interested, their weather forecast for tomorrow is rain and a balmy 55 degrees.

What does the first official day of summer mean to me as a gardener?  It means Japanese beetles have found my rose and crepe myrtles.  I already have Japanese beetle traps in place.  Japanese beetle traps work by attracting beetles by means of a lure.  They get into the trap and can’t get back out.  No chemicals involved.  The trick to using these effectively is to remember the lures ATTRACT beetles so don’t put them in the middle of what they’re eating.  Put them at the opposite side of the yard to attract them AWAY.

It also means that squash bugs will be showing up any time.  I start checking my squash plants daily looking for the adults that over-wintered and are now checking out my plants looking for a nice leaf on which to lay eggs.  If you’ve had squash bugs before, planting your squash in a different area next year can help because the over-wintered bugs might not find your new location.

If they do find your squash, check the backs of the leaves every day or two and get rid of the clusters of orangey-gold eggs.  I use the sticky side of duct tape.  You can lay out boards or newspapers during the day and squash bugs will congregate underneath where it’s cool and dark, making it easier to get rid of a number at one time.

With this rainy weather we’ve had recently—and the cool damp start last month--check tomatoes for signs of early blight—dark concentric circles, particularly on lower leaves.  Pick off the worst of the leaves and remove any leaves that are drooping over far enough to touch the ground.  While we can’t control what Mother Nature does, we can be sure we don’t compound the problem by not getting the foliage wet when we water.  Water at the base of the plant.  Treating with a mild organic fungicide, such as Neem oil, may help.

Also keep an eye on squash and cucumber foliage for signs of powdery mildew—a whitish film that forms on the leaves.  As always, prevention is best—avoid over-crowding plants and keep weeds and debris out of garden beds.  If necessary, an organic fungicide may be used.

As for the rest of my garden, well, I simply try to enjoy it.  While I’m enjoying my flowers, however, I’m eyeing the foliage for anything strange or unusual.  Remember, catching a problem early is always best.
Posted: 6/20/2017 by Bonnie Pega | with 0 comment(s)
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